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National examination for medical residency admission: academic performance in a high-stakes test and the need for continuing education
  1. Miguel Angel Gaxiola-García1,
  2. José de Jesús Villalpando-Casas2,
  3. Manuel García-Minjares3,
  4. Adrián Martínez-González3,4
  1. 1Plastic Surgery Department, Hospital Infantil de México "Federico Gómez", Mexico City, Mexico
  2. 2COMAEM, Consejo Mexicano para la Acreditación de la Educación Médica A. C, Mexico City, Mexico
  3. 3CUAIEED, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico
  4. 4Public Health Department, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Mexico City, Mexico
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adrián Martínez-González, Public Health Department, Faculty of Medicine, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico; adrianmartinez38{at}


Introduction Performance and selection rate of non-newly graduated physicians in a medical residency admission test as an indicator for the need of continuing education.

Methods A database comprising 153 654 physicians who took a residency admission test in the period 2014–2018 was analysed. Performance and selection rates were assessed in relation to year of graduation and performance in medical school.

Results The whole sample scored at a mean of 62.3 (SD ±8.9; range 1.11–91.11). Examinees who took the test in their year of graduation performed better (66.10) than those who took the test after their year of graduation (61.84); p<0.001.

Selection rates differed accordingly; 33.9% for newly graduated physicians compared with 24.8% in those who took the test at least 1 year after graduation; p<0.001. An association between selection test performance and medical school grades was established using Pearson’s correlation: r=0.40 for newly graduated physicians and r=0.30 for non-newly graduated physicians. There were statistically significant differences in selection rates for every ranking group of grades in medical school based on the χ2 test (p<0.001). The selection rates are decreased years after graduation even for candidates with high grades in medical school.

Discussion There is an association between performance in a medical residency admission test and academic variables of the candidates: medical school grades and time elapsed from graduation to test taking. The evidence of decrease in retention of medical knowledge since graduation highlights the pertinence of continuing education interventions.

  • medical education & training
  • education and training

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  • Contributors MAG-G: conception and design of the work, theoretical framework, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and revisions. JdJV-C: conception of the work, acquisition and interpretation of data, substantial revisions. MG-M: design of the work, analysis and interpretation of data, substantial revisions. AM-G: corresponding author and guarantor, conception and design of the work, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and substantial revisions. All authors approved the submitted version, agree to be personally accountable and ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any parts of the work were appropriately investigated, resolved, and the resolution documented in the literature.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.